India: PCPA backs ‘massacre’ claim

The CPM alleged massacre occurred in Binpur. Binpur, Jhargram has a long history of struggle. This picture is from a student protest in November, 2009, when students locked up police inside the school.

TNN, Oct 1, 2010

KOLKATA: The Maoist-backed People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA), on Thursday welcomed Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s demand for a CBI probe into the ‘mass killings’ at Jhargram villages by armed CPM cadres. PCPA even said they would help the probe team if needed.

PCPA spokesman Joydev Mahato said this in response to Mamata’s claims that armed CPM cadres in police uniform carried out a Nandigram-style operation in the outskirts of Jhargram to capture several villages between September 25 and 27.

A few days ago, PCPA had made the same allegation when joint forces raided Chheraboni and Bandarboni villages of Binpur. A CRPF jawan and a suspected Maoist were killed during that raid. Police claimed that the raid was conducted to nab top Maoist leader Sashadhar Mahato who was reportedly camping there. The PCPA, however, denied the police statement.

“Guarded by joint forces, CPM cadres opened fire on unarmed villagers and killed at least 10 people, including Khokon Mahato, whose body was recovered. The CPM cadres ransacked several villages and forced villagers to flee,” said Mahato.

PCPA called a 48-hour strike in Jangalmahal to protest the incident. And Mamata’s statement has endorsed the same allegation. Continue reading

India: Appeal from Lalgarh Women to a Member of Parliament

Joint military forces blocking women protesters in Jhargram

Sanhati

August 3, 2010

To Mr. Kabir Suman
Member of Parliament, Government of India

Respected sir,

The inhuman incident of housewives of Sonamukhi village having been molested and raped by the joint forces of the Congress and CPI(M) must have reached you. You may have watched it on TV also. The story does not end here. The victims spoke to the media and went to the SDO of Jhargram for grievance redressal. Yet no offender was brought to the book and we were compelled to launch a movement. From Sonamukhi to Jhargram to Binpur: women of all these areas wiped the tears, with clenched fist marched to Jhargram. The SDO did not respond. But on July 16 and 17 the police beat up and drove us away, we were not told what was our fault. The story was not over. It had just begun.

We demanded justice but did not get it. Therefore we chose not to remain silent. As a consequence, the administration and CPI(M) attempted to attack us more. There is a village named Gnosaidanga near Dahijuri of Binpur. In solidarity with us, as a mark of protest the residents of the village wanted to block the road. The joint forces beat them up and injured 20-25 of them.

The wounded tribals of village went to the Jhargram government hospital for treatment. Government doctors and other babus told us no adivasi or mahatos could be treated there. We are poor people, we were at a loss as to where to go. We do not have money or courage to go to private hospitals. So, we congregated a big mass and once more went to the hospital. There were thousands of us. We asked the administration and police bosses, if you would not treat us why are you bashing us up? They did not heed. But all of us, the housewives, daughters, daughter-in-laws, sisters, grand mothers rallied around. We did not keep mum just because there was no one to protect our ijjat (honour). We stood up. From sub-division to the parliament, we knocked at each door. We wanted to go to the world under the banner of ‘Nari ijjat bnachao committee’ (Committee to protect the honour of women). Continue reading

India: Mamata Banerjee appears at Lalgarh rally

[Mamata Banerjee is the leader of the Trinamool Congress, a bourgeois party which has its strongest base in West Bengal.  Banerjee is the Railway Minister of the central (national) government. She is more independent of the ruling CPI (Marxist) than other West Bengal government officials, and has at times shown a willingness to work with Maoist-affiliated groups such as the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities in Lalgarh, especially since the government is losing credibility and its “Operation Green Hunt” has faced growing opposition and criticism.-ed]

Times of India, August 19, 2010

Mamata ‘proud’ of Lalgarh rally

KOLKATA: Apologies are not for Mamata Banerjee. The Trinamool Congress chief on Wednesday stuck to her controversial remarks on Maoist leader Azad’s “murder” and said she was “proud” of her Lalgarh visit.

Undaunted by criticism for her alleged ‘pro-Maoist stand’ and the fact that the knives will be out for her in Parliament, the railway minister hinted she was willing to mediate with the Maoists. “If anybody wants to talk to us, we can give our opinion,” she said, just before leaving for Delhi to attend Parliament. She has stayed away from the monsoon session since the Lalgarh rally on August 9.

Asked about Maoist leader Kishanji’s statement that the rebels had no problem if she was among the mediators, Mamata said: “I have noticed the Maoist statement in media reports, but I don’t want to comment on it till I talk to the Centre. Let me cross-check all the details.” Continue reading

Lalgarh, W. Bengal – Massive protest by women against rapes committed by security personnel

joint forces blocking women protesters in jhargram

Sanhati.com

by Partho Sarathi Ray

July 22, 2010

On 20th July, around 50,000 women under the banner of “Committee to save honour of women” tried to march into Jhargram town to protest against the recent incidents of raping of women in Sonamukhi village by the joint security forces. Such a huge, and militant, mobilization of women has not been seen in Jhargram in recent times. The marchers, including school students in uniform, teachers, housewives and even many elderly women tried to enter Jhargram town via four different routes. Even the vice-chairperson of the CPI(M) controlled Jhargram panchayat samiti, Shipra Barik, joined the march. The marchers carried posters demanding the hanging of CPI(M) leader Prashanta Das, who has been known to have identified the houses of anti-CPI(M) villagers in Sonamukhi following which women from these families were raped by policemen.

The women tried to reach the Subdivisional officer’s (SDO)
 office to register their protest and demand the punishment of the perpetrators of the atrocities. However, the joint forces blocked all the four routes they were following. One of the processions was blocked at the Jamda deer park. However, another rally, comprising around 5000 women, coming from the direction of the Jhargram Raj college evaded the joint forces and reached the SDO’s office. The employees in the SDO’s office all fled although the marchers remained completely peaceful. Somehow the additional SP reasoned with the marchers and persuaded them to leave the SDO complex.

However, the police confronted another rally of around 20000 women coming from the Lodhashuli side with force. The joint forces chased them all the way till Kalaboni. Many women were injured in the melee. Throughout the day the women marchers tried to enter the town multiple times but were confronted by joint forces personnel. Even though the marchers wanted to meet the SDO, C. Murugan, to place their demands he refused to meet them saying that he has done whatever he was supposed to do. The Sonamukhi atrocities have again taken the rage against the atrocities of the joint central and state forces occupying Jangalmahal to boiling point.

People’s Committee against Police Atrocities Builds 35 Health Centres in Lalgarh area

maoists-salboni-630

Salboni: It has been over a month since the horrific derailment of the Gyaneshwari Express team near Jhargram in West Bengal that left 148 dead. The Maoist-backed People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) is accused of derailing the train and some of its leaders and members have already been arrested in connection with the derailment.

But CNN-IBN learns that the group is now not just building health centres, roads and renovating water tanks but also building a private army.Jangalmahal in Salboni block in West Midnapore of West Bengal is described by the state government as “disturbed area”, and the banned CPI-Maoists call it a “guerilla zone”. Despite Section 144 imposed for over a year now, Maoist-backed PCAPA is able to organise a gathering and it is their way of suggesting they are the rulers here. The West Bengal government led by the CPI-M is trying hard to get a toehold in the area.

The PCPA claims security forces often harass the people.”They tried joint forces. They surrounded some villages and the joint forces took away six people. Women blocked the road but they fired and lathi charged. What is the reason? They are harassing us,” says PCPA spokesperson Manoj Mahto.Barely 18 months ago the area was considered a CPI-M stronghold.

Now former CPI-M members, who are now with the PCPA, speak of their disillusionment with the Bengal Marxists.”For the last 35-40 years there was no irrigation. Why did the party not do that? Where is development, where is irrigation. Today we are doing that,” says a former CPI-M member Lalmohun Mahto.Sajan Mahto makes Rs 150 whenever he finds work. He says he has contributed Rs 100 and also five days labour for building the hospital in the area. Continue reading

West Bengal: Suspected Maoists Treated like Animals to be Hunted

Death And The Maiden

17 June, 2010, Countercurrents.org

A photograph featured in The Hindu, dated 17-06-2010 shows security personnel in West Bengal , carrying the body of a woman killed in a purported raid on a Maoist hideout.

The woman’s body had been trussed up like the carcass of a dead animal. The photo speaks volumes of how the Indian state views those it considers a threat to the internal security of the nation – as people beneath its contempt and consideration.

The photo featured alongside that of the dead woman shows a ‘captured’ young adivasi man, barely past his adolescence – a face that could stand in for a large number of disenfranchised, poor and desperate tribals, who are being treated as enemies of the state for merely wanting to lead a life of autonomy and dignity.

Merely labeling the dead woman and this young man ‘Maoist’ does not explain the reasons for their disenchantment with the Indian state’s policies, both at the regional and national levels – policies which are calculated to deprive them of their right to life and livelihood. Nor does such a labeling take away from the cynical and outrageous disregard and disrespect that these photos represent. Continue reading

West Bengal: Report on Lalgarh Struggle by People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA)

This is a detailed report on the work of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities in the Lalgarh region of West Bengal, and the vicious attacks on the PCPA and  civilians by the police, paramilitary forces and harmads (goons) of  West Bengal’s ruling “Communist” Party of India (Marxist).

Second Letter from Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities to Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) and Lalgarh Mancha

Friends,

Hope you did receive the letter that we sent to you around the end of this March. We don’t have any of your addresses. Moreover, posting the letter is a great problem. Interior villages do not have post offices. Where there is a posting facility, Harmads or the joint forces or both have camped near it. If the bearer of the letter is caught before it is being posted, it is certain that he/she will not return home. This is the scenario of the democratic establishment of Buddha-Chidambaram in today’s Jangal Mahal. We believe that there might be a few days’ delay, but you will definitely receive this letter.

The continuous false propaganda in the papers and on wireless or on TV about people’s movement in the Jangal Mahal is creating a misconception about us amongst you living in urban and suburban areas. Only 10 to 45% of our statements that are coming out almost every day are covered. That too is appended with the adverse comments of a variety of people, from local newsmen to top brass of the administration. Continue reading